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Terry Ann "Teri" Garr (born December 11, 1944) is an Americanmarker actress and comedienne.

Early life

Garr was born in Lakewood, Ohiomarker. Her father, Eddie Garr (né Gonnoud), was a vaudeville performer, comedian and actor whose career peaked when he briefly took over the lead role in the Broadwaymarker drama Tobacco Road. Her mother, Phyllis Lind (née Emma Schmotzer), was a dancer, an original Rockette, wardrobe mistress, and model.


Garr is a 1962 graduate of North Hollywood High School. She briefly attended Cal State Northridgemarker, then known as "San Fernando Valley State College".


Early in her career she was sometimes credited as Terri Garr, Terry Garr, Teri Hope, or Terry Carr. Garr's movie debut was as an extra in 1963's A Swingin' Affair. She started out as a background dancer in uncredited roles for youth-oriented films like Pajama Party, a beach party film, The T.A.M.I. Show, and nine Elvis Presley features. Her first speaking role was a one-line appearance as a damsel in distress in The Monkees film Head written by Jack Nicholson. In 1974 she got her first significant film role in Francis Ford Coppola's critically acclaimed The Conversation.

She made her career breakthrough in the Mel Brooks hit comedy Young Frankenstein (1974). She then went on to appear in a string of highly successful films, often playing a housewife, in both comedies and dramas. Her most popular films include Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Oh, God! (1977), The Black Stallion (1979), One From The Heart (1982) and Mr. Mom (1983). In 1982 she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role as Dustin Hoffman's actress friend in Tootsie.

Since the late 1960s she has appeared frequently on television. She, along with friend Toni Basil, began as go-go dancers on several musical variety shows such as Shindig! and Hullabaloo. In 1967 Garr made two appearances on Batman and one appearance on The Andy Griffith Show. In 1968 she was in two episodes of It Takes a Thief and a part in the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth". This was a backdoor pilot for a proposed series in which she would have co-starred, but the series did not sell.

In the early 1970s she was a regular cast member on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour dancing and acting in comedy sketches. She also had a recurring role as a ditzy policewoman on McCloud, and appeared on M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show, and Barnaby Jones, among others. She hosted Saturday Night Live in 1980, 1983, and 1985 and was a frequent visitor on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. As a recurring guest on Late Night with David Letterman, she was renowned for her unscripted banter with personal friend David Letterman, who once goaded her into showering in his office while the camera rolled. She landed a role as recurring character Phoebe Buffay Sr. in Friends, playing the estranged birth mother of Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow).

For over four decades, she has appeared in a variety of television commercials, including a 1970 Safeguard ad with then-unknowns Penny Marshall and Tom Selleck. Often complaining on talk shows about being typecast in housewife roles, she nonetheless used her image to promote many household products (coffee, Band-Aid, Glade air-fresheners, etc.) in countless commercials over the years.

Personal life

In October 2002, Garr publicly confirmed that she was battling multiple sclerosis. After years of uncertainty and secrecy surrounding her diagnosis, Garr explained her reasons for deciding to go public: "I'm telling my story for the first time, so I can help people. I can help people know they aren't alone, and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because today treatment options are available". In recent interviews, she has commented that she first started noticing symptoms while in New York filming Tootsie. For the next few years, as acting jobs brought her to various locations around the world, she continued to see different doctors in different cities, until she finally found a doctor that correctly diagnosed her as having MS.

Since Garr announced that she has MS, she has become a leading advocate in raising awareness for the condition and the latest treatments for it. She is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and National Chair for the Society's Women Against MS program (WAMS). WAMS is a nationwide education and fundraising program that helps to increase the public's awareness of MS and the National MS Society while acknowledging and encouraging the advancement of women philanthropists. In November 2005, Garr was honored as the society’s Ambassador of the Year. This honor had been given only four times since the society was founded.

She is the mother of an adopted daughter and resides in Los Angelesmarker. On December 21, 2006, she suffered a brain aneurysm in her home; her 13-year-old daughter called 911 when she couldn't wake her up from a nap. Following surgery, her publicist Heidi Schaeffer said she expected Garr to make a full recovery. She appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on June 19, 2008, without need of a wheelchair, and just as sharp and witty as always. She was on the show to promote Expired, a movie in which she plays twins. Garr sold her Los Angeles-area house in June 2008.

Academy awards nomination

Academy Award



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